C Trumpet Intonation

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by MahlerBrass, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

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    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Hello, I felt this post belonged here over the horns section, although it could probably argued, anyway: I've noticed that my intonation on my C trumpet is really troublesome, it seems that the higher I play the higher the pitch seems to go. I've done this with a tuner in front of me, with several different mouthpieces, and all with the same result. When I bend the pitch down to be in tune, the sounds loses its focus and sounds bad. When talking to my colleague about it, he assured that it was the way the instrument is built, not mine, but a C trumpet in general, so I'm curious, how many of you have had this problem? I'm sure it isn't the trumpet or mouthpiece because I've tested that theory several times with the same results, so what's the answer to fixing this minor detail known as tuning? Thanks a lot folks!
     
  2. Lawler Bb

    Lawler Bb Piano User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Milwaukee, WI
    How long have you been playing C trumpet? I noticed that with my own playing and went through four C trumpets before I found one that I thought fixed the problem. For me, it was always me and not the horn. I found after I practiced C trumpet a good deal (spend six months playing it as much or more than Bb) made me feel at home on it. I struggled through undergrad with pitch issues up high on C trumpet, and it wasn't until grad school that I finally "got it". It also helps that I found a great horn along the way, though I have gone back and played a couple of my previous horns and not had any real problems. This told me that the horns I used to have weren't bad or "sharp".

    There are some C trumpets with interesting pitch issues, but I have found as I have matured and learned C trumpet, playing ANY C trumpet has become MUCH easier. I did the mouthpiece thing with C trumpets too and TIME is actually what worked for me. YMMV.
     
  3. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

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    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    I've been playing C trumpet for a couple of years now, although I admit that I don't touch it nearly as much as I use my Bb. This is mostly due to the fact that I'm not part of any ensembles that require me to use my C trumpet, but I practice on it quite frequently. Maybe some more time on it will bring up where some of the problems lie.
     
  4. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

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    Nov 2, 2003
    How is your pitch on B flat?


    I am willing to bet that you not 100% in the center of the note on b flat and that is what is making the C out of tune. The smaller the horn the more that a persons deficiencies are magnified.
     
  5. Heavens2kadonka

    Heavens2kadonka Forte User

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    Jun 17, 2004
    Lebanon, TN
    I haven't really noticed much of a problem with my own C trumpet. In fact, in some ways, my playing is better on the C. Now, it may be the fact this horn is a bit tighter than my Bb. Dunno, may just be me. :D

    Van
     
  6. Lawler Bb

    Lawler Bb Piano User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Milwaukee, WI
    By the way, when I said in my earlier post that "I got it" I did not mean that I have mastered anything. I just made a breakthrough that allowed C trumpet to be an easier thing to play, virtually the same as Bb trumpet for me. Just wanted to clarify myself. :-)
     
  7. MahlerBrass

    MahlerBrass Piano User

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    Oct 1, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Actually the reason this concerns me is because this is not an issue on any other of my horns. I can stop a tuner playing a two octave scale on my Bb, Eb, and picc, it's my C trumpet where the problem lies. Again, this has been the case with every C trumpet of the same model that I've tried (Bach 229/25H). Thanks a lot guys, keep 'em comin!
     
  8. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

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    Mahler Brass-
    Give it time. I found that C trumpet was the hardest instrument to learn out of all the different keyed trumpet because it seems so close to b-flat. It took me about two years before I was even comfortable playing in ensembles with a C trumpet.
    As far as adjusting, my advice would be to get some very simple etudes and play through them in several keys. If you can, try to get Dr. Beat or something similar to produce a drone on the tonic. I think probably the bet etudes to do that with are the Concone Vocalise. Also, it helped me to play a passage first on an instrument I was more comfortable with, then play it in the same key on the c trumpet (transposing, of course). This is morechallenging in the flat keys because of the transposition to C from B-flat, but I found this to be a useful tool in getting the intonation down on a new instrument.
    Hope this helps!
    jimi
     
  9. sdgtpt

    sdgtpt New Friend

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    Dec 3, 2004
    I think so far, between the TH and the TM, the above poster has offered the best, most practical/musical way to begin solving the problem.... good for him! I am going to do a little of this myself.
     
  10. Rimshot

    Rimshot Pianissimo User

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    Feb 14, 2005
    Atlanta
    Learning to relax is I think no. 1, which may mean more practice time just playing music, and forgetting the tuner for awhile. The C is going to "push back" more at the top end, often prompting a counterproductive increase in player tension, which = sharp.

    Though this is always a dangerious suggestion, finding the right moutherpiece can be key on a C--many players will use the same thing as on Bb but with the throat opened a few notches (25-24-or 23) to help with the balance a little.

    On a 229/25H you may also find you have to learn to use some alternate fingerings. You may also need to engage more use of the 1st and 3rd slides.

    All of this adds to mental clutter which adds to tension which adds up to out-of-tune and non-resonant sound. So, I go back to to top, make some techie adjstments as needed, but above all PLAY A LOT A MUSIC and make the sucker sing. It will fall under your spell with time.
     

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